Won’t You Be, Won’t You Be . . . My Neighbor?

reading, newspaper, front porch, early morning, waterlogueI’m sitting on my front porch, rocking in the chair, listening to the birds chirp as I breathe in the moist morning air at 6 a.m. The sun is out, it’s already 74 degrees, and the humidity glistens on the grateful flowers.

Then I breathe in the worries of all I need to do today: write a blog post, finish the synopsis of my new picture book for the publisher, drive a grandson to camp, attend a Zumba class, stop at the grocery store all sweaty and stinky afterwards.

The caw of a crow wakens me again to nature’s world in front of me. 

Right on time, the newspaper is delivered by the swing of an arm through the open passenger window of José’s old white Chevy. And as always, José smiles and waves as he tosses the paper, perfectly placed halfway up our driveway.

I smile and wave back.newspaper, newspaper delibery, Wall Street Journal, neighborhood

I know our home is the last delivery on our block, but José turns his car around the circle and goes back into the neighborhood.

I grin. Five houses around the corner, our neighbor Cosmo is waiting for José with a cup of coffee for him, their daily routine.

Cosmo is 86 and handsomely wrinkled with a constant twinkle in his eyes. He arrived to America from Italy when he was 13. An immigrant, he explains proudly.

As Cosmo greets José, a 30-something Hispanic with halting but confident English, the two men, generations and original countries apart, hail each other like best friends.

Like good neighbors.

José’s Chevy re-enters the circle and he waves at me one more time.

His wide smile is all I need to brighten the rest of my day.

152 thoughts on “Won’t You Be, Won’t You Be . . . My Neighbor?

  1. What a gorgeous post, Pam. We may not be physical neighbours but we are blogging neighbours so we can pop over whenever it suits. I didn’t ever see Mr Rogers on TV here. Perhaps he wasn’t shown, but if he was, I certainly missed him. How sad. He has wonderful messages for us all.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Mr. Rogers was an important part of many children’s mornings here in the U.S. for many years, Norah. There’s an excellent documentary about him and soon a film starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers. He spent every morning on his show showing how we’re all neighbors, no matter our differences.
      And yes, we here on the blogosphere – we’re all neighbors. Such a great feeling. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment seared right into my heart, since that’s what I’m about – or at least my writing. I hope to highlight the extraordinary in all of our minutes. Thank you so much, Stephanie.

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    • I didn’t have Mr. Rogers when I was a child, Jill, so I used my kids as an excuse to watch him every morning. Wow, he had such a soft and gentle way about him. Cosmo is Mr. Roger-like, I’d say. xo

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  2. How lovely, Pam. We still get a paper delivered in the morning, too, but I have no idea who the person is who delivers it. I also don’t know many of my neighbors. It’s sad.
    Someone recently told my husband that he looks like Mr. Rogers–he doesn’t, nor does he own any cardigans, and he has a bass voice–but we all talked about how the documentary made us cry. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I sobbed at the end of the documentary, Merril. Will be interesting to see how Tom Hanks portrays this amazing man. (And yes, I’ve actually thought that your husband reminds me a bit of Mr. Rogers when I’ve seen your photos of him! Interesting…)
      We’re always up early and therefore many times can greet Jose. My guy has had some great conversations with him, and he’s so appreciative that he sees a human at oh dark hundred (most months). Such a thankless job for little pay, and he’s always there, even with a foot of snow falling.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I never saw Mr. Rogers on TV when I was a child, but I’ve learned about him and his message of friendliness as an adult. I like your neighbor and your description of him. Life is in the details, as I often say.

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  4. I´m so glad we’re in the blogging neighbourhood as you are such a good neighbour. I live in a lovely neighbourhood here in Spain with wonderful people who come from all over the world. England, Ireland, Holland, Sweden, Norway, India, Denmark, France and Scotland. Last week we had a barbeque around the pool. So much fun! Love Mr Rogers and look forward to the movie that is coming out soon.

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    • What a fascinating, global neighborhood you have there in Spain, Darlene! And yes, I feel like we all have a terrific diversified neighborhood virtually in our blogsphere.
      Mr. Rogers is a singular individual who spent his life teaching the value of kindness. Of being a good neighbor. I hope the movie honors his legacy.

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  5. A neighbourhood. a community. I do wonder if such ever existed in this town where I live. I think it used to centre on the pubs. And mostly the pubs are gone for lack of custom. Booze is cheaper in supermarkets, and you can smoke at home. Sad.

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    • Once I started walking around the neighborhood and greeting the dogs who lived in each house, I made friends (with the dogs, and then the neighbors). Doesn’t mean everyone is neighborly, but those who want the community connection love the friendliness found each day on the block.

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  6. This was such a lovely thing to read, Pam. Great observation by you on your morning routine. José does sound he has perfected throwing the newspaper at the right spot each morning, and a very special skill. So lovely of him to wave to you (and you wave back). It’s such a simple gesture, but behind that is such a kind thought and person. It can just take a simple act by someone to make you feel so much better. Like Norah, I don’t remember seeing Mr Rogers here on TV in Australia – but that was a good song and a good message to acknowledge each other 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Jose and Cosmo have it right. Discover the common elements and connect with those elements as a way of bridging age, culture, and language.
    The truth is we all have some common element. They obviously found theirs.

    These are 2 wise men 💕

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    • Those DNA tests that so many people have gotten prove how we’re all part of everyone else. Mr. Rogers certainly tried to teach that wisdom to children throughout his years of his TV show.
      Three cheers to Jose and Cosmo for living the truth out loud.

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    • Well, hello neighbor Janet. So wonderful to see you here, even though I know you’re not always in the blogosphere. Connection and Community should be what life is all about. May we all leave our front doors and wave to our neighbors, from our street and beyond, globally.

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  8. I already live in your neighborhood, virtually, along with your smart “neighbors” here. Before I began blogging, my neighborhood was so much smaller. Here’s to e x p a n s i o n and savoring the quiet moments.

    My days look a lot like yours; just substitute Pilates for Zumba. Thanks for the nudge to observe and avoid “overwhelm.” 🙂

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  9. With a tear in my eye at your touching description of neighbors, I smile! So many new neighbors in my recent move to a retirement community. Mostly lovely! I’m like a new bride.

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  10. A lovely story. I hope José reads it and knows how much he is appreciated. We have an amazing newspaper delivery person too. He actually gets out of his car and places the paper right on my step! We make sure he knows how valuable a gift that is to us.

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    • These newspaper delivery people appreciate their job, I believe, Arlene. And most of them have another job after their early morning deliveries. But I think they most appreciate the people who give them “the time of day,” a smile, a cup of coffee, and a tip every quarter. ❤

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  11. I would love to be your neighbor Pam…Wow! the thought is so heart-warming. I know you would welcome me into your garden. Hey, do you have another rocking chair? I like to rock too with the music of nature, sipping a latte.
    Love and hugs for sharing this lovely post with subtle messages.

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  12. What a wonderful post, Pam! I just moved into my new neighbourhood and have met two of my neighbours. Will be nice to see if it goes beyond a wave as one or the other passes by…

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  13. A beautiful way to start the morning! Like you, I fell in love with Mr. Rogers watching his show with my son. We need more people like Mr. Rogers in our world today. Thanks for sharing your neighbors and neighborhood with us this morning.

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    • If you haven’t yet, I recommend you watch the Mr. Rogers’ documentary. It’s astounding, and makes you love the man and what he did for children’s TV even more. I’m afraid Mr. Rogers would have quite a lot of lessons on kindness and anti-bullying, and diversity for the children (and their parents – all adults) if he was still alive and filming his TV show now.

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    • I think the world desperately needs Mr. Rogers right now. Perhaps the new movie about him soon to be released will start a new ‘someone’ in his path. In the meantime, we’ll all spread a little kindness every day in our neighborhoods. xo

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    • Dogs are a FABULOUS way to meet neighbors. We don’t have a dog right now, but we have dog treats and strong fingers for belly rubs, so all the neighbors with dogs stop by our corner of the neighborhood for both.
      I know, I know, never enough time to write (and read). ❤

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    • You hit the nail on the head, Lisa (to use an old expression). I only started spending quality time out on our front porch when I got a concussion a year ago and was told to “do nothing.” Who knew so much of “everything” was going on right in front of my rocking chair? ;-0 ❤

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  14. Hi Pamela. It’s good to live in a neighborly area. Makes life better. And it’s good to have home delivery of newspapers. My wife and I do that too. It used to be the norm. Now it’s nearly rare (at least in my community). See you!

    Neil Scheinin

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    • I get little goosebumps every morning when I see Jose drive around the circle the second time with his steaming coffee. Makes the horrid news I read in the paper seem less “real,” and the real people more believable and important in our lives.

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  15. I’ve lived in the same neighborhood since I was 16 years old–50 years, and most of my neighbors have lived on our street for a very long time. I loved your beautiful description of the community of neighbors and friends. A little bit of friendly civility goes a very long way! And thanks for the Mr. Rogers connection. I can’t wait for the Tom Hanks movie. I may need to bring a handkerchief! 🙂

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    • WOW! You have an unusual and special connection with your neighborhood, having lived in it so long. How wonderful! But yes, don’t you think we should share more often the beauty of living in a community of kindness and compassion?
      Oh, I’ll need a dozen hankies when I see the Tom Hanks movie on Mr. Rogers. HIs story is beautiful yet haunting, in how hard he tried to bring the value of kindness to children (and all of his viewers) everywhere.

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  16. Beautiful, Pam. How small gestures can make a big difference. If only Jose and Cosmo knew they made your day, their smiles would be even bigger. 🙂 So much in life is about community, friendships, and kindness. Have a wonderful Sunday afternoon in your rocking chair.

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    • My guess is that Jose and Cosmo would blush if they knew how their actions give me goosebumps and joy every morning. They’re both very modest humble men who just…. enjoy each other’s “Being,” if you know what I mean. Here’s to BEING good neighbors, wherever we may roam! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This is the second Mr Rogers reference I have seen this week. I think a lot of us are looking forward to the movie with Tom Hanks. I believe he is perfect for the part. Mr. Rogers was an interesting man and his personal story is extraordinary.
    Love the story of Jose’ and Cosmo. We should all be THAT neighbor! 😉

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  18. Used to be far more common, looking out for one’s neighbours. Now people have lost a lot of that local community spirit. Now your neighbour could be dead for weeks and you’d never know it.

    By the way Pam, it must only be in ‘Merica that your newspaper gets hurled at you from a car or bike. We still use letterboxes here 🙂

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    • And yes, it’s been a decades-long (maybe century-long) tradition of having a newspaper thrown on your lawn/driveway/under the water sprinkler here in the States. In the 40s, 50s, 60s many a young boy on his bike got his first allowance by delivering the newspaper (sadly, girls mostly weren’t given the chance). Over time, kids/teens didn’t want the job (or to get up that early in the morning) and adults took over.

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  19. Hi Pam, Mr. Rogers always makes me feel emotional on many levels. He was a wonderful example of all that is good in this world. He had a huge impact in my life and in my children’s lives. Your post is very appropriate and important for this time period. I look forward to seeing the Tom Hanks version. I have not yet seen the Netflix story. I will grab one of the grandchildren and share this story with them.

    Your personal story continues with all that is good in this world. These are the stories we need to share. Thank you, Pam xx

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    • The documentary on Mr. Rogers (I saw it on either Netflix or On Demand) is more adult oriented than for the kids. The beginning is quite uplifting though, so depending on the ages of the grandkids, they could like that. But the end had me sobbing.
      But as you say, the story of Mr. Rogers, and of good neighbors, and of kindness, should be shared over and over again to bring in the light to snuff out the darkness out there. ❤

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  20. Pam, your kind and neighbourly nature brings sunshine to us all in this lovely post. 😀 The snapshot of your morning radiates with friendliness and caring; José and Cosmo taking centre stage! Neighbours are so important to us in our lives, they can make all the difference of a happy home and one in distress. Hoping your day of busyness turned out fine. Hugs xx

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    • When my day gets too busy (and sometimes it feels that each one is), I stop and think of this daily neighborly act, and I relax. By the way, I didn’t mention in this post the laughter. At 6:15 when Jose is picking up his cup of homemade coffee from Cosmo, I can hear the two of them laugh together. The sweetest sound. xo

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  21. What a delightful neighborhood to live in! I love the scene of the paper carrier and the older gentleman interacting in such a warm manner. If the world possessed a little more of this type of kindness then we’d all be a little happier.

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    • Even though it’s darker now in the mornings at 6 (compared to just a couple of weeks ago) I make sure to sit outside on my front porch and watch as Cosmo hands Jose his coffee, and as Jose swings by my driveway with a HUGE smile on his face. Best way to start the day. Glad you’re my new blogging neighbor now, Pete.

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